Celebrations, Decorating, Family & Friends, Hospitality, Life Lessons, Valentine's Day, Writing

A WHOLE LOT OF LOVE GOING ON

change-calendar

Today’s the 28th of February. Are you ready to flip the page on your calendar?

Although the shortest month of the year, February was always big at our house because of my birthday on the 14th, as was May for Will’s. It still is. As usual, I started celebrating early over lunches, dinners, and coffee dates. I loved being with everyone who wanted to help me celebrate.

Valentine’s Day fell on the second Tuesday, the day my writing group was to meet at my house, so heart-pansI decided to make a cake for the meeting.

What fun to use my mother’s heart-shaped pans and copy a Valentine cake from the February issue of Tea Time, a beautiful little publication devoted to the art of creating memorable tea parties. You can see theirs at Tea Time.

In fact if you want a clue as to what my decorations looked like, you’ll have go there because I FORGOT to take a picture of it. (But the group can vouch for my slightly lop-sided strawberry hearts.)

heart-cake

Although my hearts weren’t perfect like Tea Time’s, we had a great party–even if I do say so myself.

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My guests surprised me with cards and little gifts.

Several folks read some serious pieces they had written about the love of God that seemed appropriate for the month dedicated to love. After all, writing about Him is the central purpose for our getting together.

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8

Afterwards we laughed and talked over cake, candy, and coffee. It was a joyful celebration. I wish you could have been here. 

Looking back at the month, I asked myself if I made good use of the time.

Concerning revisions to Thomas’s story, I confess, I didn’t do much on that front. But I spent lots of time with family and friends or thinking about th consider that a high priority.

And I did ponder Thomas’s fate as I crafted Valentine boxes to give as little gifts and bookmark favors for the writing group that were inspired by the February issue of Better Home and Gardens.

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You tuck a little piece of candy inside.

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There’s no doubt about my enjoying all that crafting.crafting

I  also read a blog, Novel Rocket, every day and considered the advice of successful writers. As I cut and pasted pretty papers, I pondered what I might need to cut or add to Tom’s life to fill out the plot. How I could enhance his character so you’d know him better. How to add atmosphere for a greater sense of place.

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Today, the craft supplies are back on the shelf, and I’m returning to Thomas–or Tom. (His mother still calls him Tommy.) The’s jury still out on what I’ll call him in the final version, but at the moment, it’s Tom. Maybe you have an opinion on that.

All in all, I’m happy with the way my February began, progressed, and ended. But I’m also eager for the  next thing, which is March. I know it will be filled with lots of love, too.

And once again, I find myself praying to the One who loves me best.

Lead me, Lord. Help me complete what we’ve begun. Guide me in all I do in the coming days.

That’s my prayer for you, too.

May God lead you in the way you should go today and everyday.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

Ps. 36:23

Devotionals, Encouragement, friendship, Life Lessons

DREAM

 

not-afraid

I’ve already told you how I overdid it last year. Traveled too much. Rushed from one thing to another so that by Christmas, I was tired and discouraged. But looking back, I see how family and friends encouraged me.

One kind gesture came from my writing friend, Cindy, through a small Christmas present. She may not have realized it, but her gift was three-fold—a long lunch, a heartfelt note, and a small star-scattered dish.

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I’m sure Cindy chose this little saucer for its message.

Her note reminded me of how much I’d accomplished in the past year. She listed specifics, one-by-one.

Then we ate a lovely Trios’ lunch and talked about our families, writing challenges, and our friendship. By the time lunch was over, I had a new way of looking at the past year—and a new appreciation for why I was weary, along with a deeper love for Cindy. Thank you, friend.

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That little dish sits in my bathroom now where it holds the jewelry I’m favoring these days. I rotate bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, so something is always resting there.

However, I’ve noticed something. Occasionally, it gets so full of pretty things that I can no longer see the image emblazoned on its surface.

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Isn’t that how life is sometimes? We get so busy with good things, pretty things that we forget to dream and reach for the stars.

Not that pretty things are bad in themselves, but they have a way of distracting us from the main thing.

Do you or did you have a dream? You know, a perhaps an even secret desire to do something or follow a path that seemed impossible.

Maybe you’re actually living your dream now. If so, I say, Bravo! because it takes commitment and concentration to follow them.

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Photo by Steve Rucker

Or maybe like me, that dream keeps getting lost in the shuffle or covered up by things that seem to take precedence for one reason or another.

Does it feel like it’s too late?

DREAM!

If that dream is from God, it’s not too late.

He still has plans for you, for me.

His timing doesn’t always coincide with ours, but He’s never late.

… though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.  Hab. 2:3b

And I remind myself that the reality of that dream may look different from what I expected, but He is faithful. So I believe it will be better.

I hope you’ll let God revive the dream He gave you long ago or plant a new one in your heart.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Ps. 37:4

 

Family & Friends

Grasshopper or Giant?

Shades
Nice Shades, huh?   (Don’t worry. I didn’t buy them.)

I’ve Been Traveling

Many of you know I was in Nashville a couple of weeks ago for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference. The venue was the Omni Hotel, which is down town. It provided very nice accommodations, I might add.

Top Notch Offerings

It was my first national conference. Best selling author, Ted Dekker, was the keynote speaker. In addition, other authors, editors, and agents who have also made their mark in Christian publishing taught classes. What a wonderful opportunity to grow as a writer.

The event provided me with my first chance to talk with two agents and an editor from Tyndale House about my novel. (You might remember my Woo Hoo Facebook post that the editor invited me to submit a book proposal.)

Pretty heady stuff.  Until I began to put that proposal together and think about my limited outreach and the odds of their deciding to publish it.

But write it, I did. And I emailed it to her last Friday.

And now I’m waiting.

The Truth

To be honest, I felt quite insignificant in my own eyes all week, but I pressed on with life. I attended a one-day conference, edited the book, and worked in my flower beds.

I tried to stay busy because I didn’t want to make the mistake that ten of the twelve spies who scouted out the Promise Land made. They allowed fear to color their thinking (Numbers 13).

You may remember, they described themselves as grasshoppers in their own eyes when they saw the giants in the land.

So I girded my loins with scriptures about courage, faith, and the truth that with God all things are possible. I confided in friends and asked for prayer.

Remembering Who’s In Charge

I also reminded myself that from the beginning this has been God’s project.  So I will trust Him with the outcome. And no matter what happens, I’ll remember that it isn’t every day someone is invited to submit a proposal to a publishing house. If Tyndale decides to pass, I’ll look for another. In the meantime, I’ll keep on writing here and working on other projects.

You Asked, so Here Goes

Some of you have asked me how you can help me in my quest to find a publisher. So here goes.

If you’re a praying person, say a prayer for me to have favor, to not grow weary, and that I’ll continue to trust in God’s plan.

Many of you have told me you follow me on Facebook. I love that, but it would also help if you sign up here today to follow this blog by email.

Social media numbers are important. So if you enjoy something, making a comment is nice.

If you especially like a post, sharing it with friends is wonderful.

All of those things will give me a boost.

But most of all, I want to thank you for reading what I write. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.

I consider you to be very special friends.

Now It’s Your Turn. Tell Me

Have you ever felt like a grasshopper in the face of a God-given opportunity? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9